University at Buffalo Crest.

Policy Information

Date Established: 1/8/2011
Date Last Updated: 12/8/2016
Facilities; Health and Safety
Responsible Office:
University Facilities
Responsible Executive:
Vice President for Finance and Administration

Policy Contents

Snow Removal Plan and Procedure


University Facilities will make every effort to ensure that campus roads remain passable for emergency vehicles throughout the snow removal period.

Policy Statement

The University at Buffalo (UB, university) will make every effort to ensure that all campus roads remain passable for emergency vehicles throughout the snow removal period. This is always the first priority. Final snow clearing curb to curb may be performed later in the process, but initially roads must be kept passable.

  • A twenty-four person day shift crew will be on duty from 6:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday from mid-November through late March. University Facilities will also have an eight person snow and ice removal crew working on campus Monday through Friday from 4:00 p.m. to 12:30 a.m., and a two-person crew working Saturday 6:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. From January 2nd until late March, an eight person third shift crew will be on duty from 11:30 p.m. to 8:00 a.m. Monday through Friday.
  • The Town of Amherst will respond to snow and ice conditions on John Audubon Parkway and the Flint and Rensch entrances to the Audubon. University Police will notify the Town of Amherst as needed. The University Facilities Grounds Department salts the Flint entrance and exit bridges over Millersport Highway, in addition to services supplied by the Town of Amherst.
  • If an overnight snowfall creates a situation where roads have been opened but the parking lots will not be usable before 8:00 a.m., the senior snow removal supervisor on campus must continually assess this situation. If a campus closure or restrictions are needed, the decision is made by 5:00 a.m. This process will determine whether a campus can remain open after a snowstorm, remain open with limited parking available, or if it must close.

Criteria Used for Calling in Work

University Police call the Chilled Water Plant. The Chilled Water Plant engineer dispatcher calls a Grounds Supervisor.

University Facilities Grounds Department Follows a Detailed Process for Systematic Snow Removal

  • When roads become icy, salting will begin.
  • When the depth of snow on the roadways is approximately two inches, plowing will begin.
  • When snow in parking lots is between two and four inches, parking lot plowing will begin. It should be noted that it is virtually impossible to clear parking spaces in the parking lots while cars are parked. Snow storms which happen during a work day are handled by keeping parking lot entrances and aisles open. The parking surface for vehicles is cleared overnight after cars have departed the lot.
  • Parking lots are cleared by plowing lots nearest academic buildings, then service areas and residential lots. Ideally, all these areas are cleaned simultaneously when enough people and equipment are available.
  • During an especially concentrated storm, it may be necessary to continually return to plowing of campus roadways and egress lanes from parking lots. Areas lower on the priority list may have to wait until the storm subsides.

Priorities for Snowplowing

  1. Campus roads and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) access
  2. Parking lots
    • Academic lots
    • Service lots
    • Residential lots
  3. Walkways
    • Parking lot walkways to buildings
    • Lateral walkways
    • Walkways parallel to roads

Special Parking Lot Policies

Snow removal in parking lots is more difficult and time consuming than roadway snow removal.

  • Heavy, dense snow requires a major effort to remove. It takes more time, requires more heavy duty equipment, leads to more equipment breakdowns, and may require snow blowing or trucking to remove snow from the lots. When heavy, dense snow falls, parking lot plowing will start when approximately two inches of snow has fallen.
  • Light density snow may be deeper yet less troublesome. Smaller pieces of equipment may be used. This type of snow presents less difficulty for driving or walking and may melt after the first thaw following the snowfall. When snow is light and powdery, removal of the snow may start after about four inches of snow has fallen.
  • For any snowfall, full parking lot clean-up is accomplished on the night following the snowstorm when most cars have vacated the lots.
  • Plowing of residential parking lots is a much more challenging task than lots for commuter students, faculty, or staff. Access to parking in residential lots is typically a 24 hour a day requirement.

Special Attention is Paid to ADA Access to Academic Buildings

The list below details priority access sites. These areas are maintained on a continual basis and have priority as high as campus roadways. This plan is intended to provide orderly and prioritized methods to fight most snowstorms. Each storm will present different problems. The on-site grounds supervisor may need to continually adjust the plan to achieve the most benefit from the personnel and equipment available at the time.

Designated Building Access Points - Americans With Disability Act (ADA)
North Campus Access Point
Capen Northwest entrance (parking on Putnam Way in front of Capen) (N)
Clemens   West entrance (parking on west Putnam Way adjacent to building)
Cooke Southeast entrance (parking on the south side of Putnam Way and north face of Hochstetter A parking lot)
Furnas Southeast entrance (parking in Furnas lot southeast corner)
O'Brian Southeast entrance (parking on the south side of Putnam Way adjacent to O’Brian)
Student Union Southeast entrance (parking on Putnam Way at east side of building)
South Campus Access Point
Abbott West entrance (parking near southwest corner of building)
Hayes Rear east entrance (parking on the south side of Crosby)
Kimball East upper entrance (parking in McDonald lot)
Sherman South glass enclosure entrance (parking in small lot on south side of building)
Squire Northwest entrance (parking in the south Squire lot face)


During winter months, university parking lots and roadways are inspected on a continual basis by University Police. When snow or ice removal is required, University Police contact the Chilled Water Plant, which is staffed around the clock.

The Chilled Water Plant engineer makes contact with the Grounds crew from Facilities Operations to clear snow or salt icy areas. The staff available to remediate the snow and icy conditions varies by the day of the week, and hour of the day. When adequate staff or resources are not available, call-in procedures are implemented to bring appropriate resources on campus to deal with the weather situation.

Many of the situations faced by the grounds crews are influenced by the time of day that the storm hits, the day of the week, or time of the year. We are also mindful of the fact that residence hall occupancy, ADA, class sessions, and general university business dictate a varying degree of response. A period of high level of activity, with classes in session and full residence hall occupancy, dictates a higher level of response than would be required during periods of time when there are no classes scheduled and residence halls are lightly occupied.

Contact Information

Contact An Expert
Contact Phone Email
University Facilities 716-645-2025

Related Information

University Links


Policy Revision History
December 2016 

Updated the policy to specify the following:

•  A twenty-four-person person day shift crew will be on duty from 6:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday from mid-November through late March
•  An eight-person snow and ice removal crew will work on campus Monday through Friday from 4:00 p.m. to 12:30 a.m.
•  A two-person crew will work Saturday 6:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
•  An eight-person third shift crew will be on duty from 11:30 p.m. to 8:00 a.m. Monday through Friday from January 2 until late March.

July 2014
Updated the Responsible Executive to reflect the current organizational structure.   

Presidential Approval

Signed by President John B. Simpson

John B. Simpson, President